Educator Credentialing Exams

Passing a standardized teacher certification exam is a basic requirement for employment as a teacher in most states. Similarly, states and schools needed a standardized measurement of a job applicant’s knowledge and readiness to be an HVACR instructor, regardless of institution, or location.

Note: HVAC Excellence’s Heat Pump Installer and Heat Pump Service programs have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy as “Energy Skilled” respectively in the categories of Heat Pump Installation and Heat Pump Comfort Advisor.



When a person transitions from the field into the classroom, they need to have a deeper understanding of the physics and theories required to teach their subject matter effectively. The HVAC Excellence Educator Credentialing exams are a series of written exams that identify if an instructor possesses mastery of specific fundamental content areas they will be teaching. The core exam, covers teaching and technical education methodologies.

Proper training consists of teaching a set of skills and/or competencies for various tasks that a student or technician is required to perform. Most programs try to teach these skills and competencies but, without properly assessing an instructor’s mastery of these skills, an instructor does not know if they are teaching to the depth required for the student to succeed in the field.

Benefits of HVACR Educator Credentialing Exams

  • Establishes minimum requirements for HVACR educators, to ensure HVACR students have access to high-quality learning, which can ultimately lead to high-quality employment opportunities.
  • Creates a nationally-recognized benchmark for HVACR educators.
  • Aids school administrators in selecting qualified professionals to lead their HVACR programs.
  • Provides HVACR instructors the tools to validate where professional development may be needed.

Certified Subject Matter Educator (CSME)

The Certified Subject Matter Educator (CSME) credentialing exams are a series of specialized HVACR teacher certification exams that validate if an HVACR instructor has mastered the subject matter to teach the competencies in each subject area taught, or if they need additional training in that area.

Instructors are encouraged to take the exams that directly correlate with the competencies they teach, plus take the Teaching Methodologies, Principles, and Practices exam. The Teaching Methodologies, Principles, and Practices exam cover technical education methodologies, principles and practices, and attests to an instructor’s pedagogical skills.

For each CSME exam taken, a customized report is generated. This report serves to identify areas of strength and weakness to assist in the planning of future professional development. When an instructor receives a passing score of 80% or higher, they are awarded a CSME certificate for that specific content area and are posted in an official directory of Certified.

Credential Received

Upon passing Certified Subject Matter Exam (CMSE), an instructor will receive a certificate of achievement. In addition, they will be listed in the official directory of CSME instructors.

Credentialing Exams Offered

Air Conditioning

100-question exam covering theory, equipment service, systems and components, troubleshooting, metering devices, & application.


100-question exam covers safety, theory, components, meter usage, fundamentals of motors and capacitors, interpreting electrical diagrams, and troubleshooting.

Electric Heat

100-question exam covering electric heating theory, system components, equipment installation, service, airflow, application, troubleshooting, & safety.

Gas Heat

100-question exam covering combustion theory, heating system components, troubleshooting, furnace installation, service, troubleshooting, & heating safety.

Heat Pump

100-question exam covering components, controls, theory of the heat pump cycle, service, troubleshooting, & interpreting heat pump schematics.

Light Commercial Air Conditioning

100-question exam covering commercial AC systems, components, equipment installation, service, refrigeration theory, application, & troubleshooting.

Light Commercial Refrigeration

100-question exam covering equipment installation, service, refrigeration systems, components, refrigeration theory, application, & troubleshooting.

Oil Heat

100-question exam covering combustion theory, oil heating system components, troubleshooting, furnace installation, service, troubleshooting, & heating safety.

Teaching Methodologies, Principles, and Practices (Capstone)

50-question exam covers terms teaching methodologies, principles, class room environment and student situations, and management

Who Can Administer Credentialing Exams

HVAC Excellence Educator Credentialing exams are closed-book, online examinations, administered by special proctors. These exams may be administered by National College Testing Association approved testing centers, ProctorU, or under special circumstances by school administrators not affiliated with the HVACR program.

Certified Master HVACR Educator (CMHE)

While some instructors teach specific classes, most are responsible for teaching many different subjects; some even teach the entire program!

For those instructors who have successfully passed seven specific CSME exams listed below, the title of Certified Master HVACR Educator “CMHE” is bestowed upon them.

The series of exams one must pass to earn the title of Certified Master HVACR Educator are:

  • Teaching Methodologies, Principles, and Practices
  • Electrical
  • Air Conditioning
  • Light Commercial Air Conditioning
  • Light Commercial Refrigeration
  • Electric Heat
  • and one of the following:
    • Gas Heat
    • Oil Heat
    • Heat Pumps

Credential Received

All Certified Master HVACR Educators receive a wall plaque and are posted in an official directory of Certified Master HVACR Educators. Additionally, we take time to recognize new CMHEs during the National HVACR Educators and Trainers Conference.

Maintaining Credential

All credentialed instructors shall obtain a minimum of ten (10) Professional Development Hour (PDH) annually. The PDHs should ensure instructors are kept up to date on emerging technologies, teaching methods, and areas that relate directly to the technical content being taught. Additionally, to maintain the credentials conferred upon, instructors must obtain a minimum of one (1) PDH within the subject matter(s) specified within their certificates, within a period not to exceed five (5) years.